US 7904150 B2
A biofeedback electronic stimulation device includes a processor for generating a first control signal and a plurality of second control signals responsive to at least one input signal. Transformer circuitry generates a stimulation signal including packets of at least one pulse responsive to the first control signal. Pulse circuitry configures the at least one pulse in the packet to a selected one of a plurality of configurations responsive to the plurality of second control signals. Output electrodes apply the at least one pulse in the packet to a user and detector circuitry detects zero crossings of the at least one pulse in the packet. The processor further causes generation of an indicator responsive to the detected zero crossings.
1. A biofeedback electronic stimulation device comprising:
a user interface for providing at least one input signal;
a processor for generating a first control signal and a plurality of second control signals responsive to the at least one input signal;
a pulse generator circuit for generating a charge current responsive to the first control signal;
a transformer for generating a stimulation signal including packets of at least one pulse responsive to the charge current;
damping circuitry for configuring the at least one pulse in the packets to a selected one of a plurality of configurations responsive to the plurality of second control signals;
output electrodes for applying the stimulation signal to a user;
detector circuitry for detecting zero crossings of the at least one pulse in the packet of the stimulation signal;
an audio indicator for providing an audio indication to cease application of the stimulation signal responsive to a third control signal from the processor;
a visual indicator for providing a visual indication of at least one mode of operation of the device responsive to the at least one input signal;
wherein the processor further causes generation of an indicator responsive to the detected zero crossings; and
wherein the processor further configures a spacing between the packets of the stimulation signal, a number of pulses in the packets of the stimulation signal, a spacing between the pulses in the packets of the stimulation signal, and a damping of the pulses in the packets of the stimulation signal.
2. The biofeedback electronic stimulation device of
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This application is a Divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/203,387, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,509,165, filed on Aug. 12, 2005, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/601,075, filed on Aug. 12, 2004 and entitled “BIOFEEDBACK ELECTRONIC STIMULATION DEVICE,” which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to pain management systems, and more particularly, to biofeedback electronic stimulation devices.
There are many people with injuries and ailments that may be treated by electrical energy. Examples include sprained ankles, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and numbness of extremities like neuropathy, stroke and neurological conditions such as ADD and macular degeneration. These are all ailments that the human body must work to recover from. They are not viruses or infections or any chemically related ailment. These are not instances where surgery has proven effective, such as reattaching bones or ligaments or other body parts or clearing arteries.
Energetic medicine addresses these energy related ailments. There has been much research into energetic medicine and the way the body's electric and nervous system works dating back to the 1900s. Devices have been developed, such as the Rife machine, Beck's Box, infrared light therapies, and magnetic therapies used in energetic medicine. There are diagnostic tools such as MEAD machines, which measure resistance in the body's energetic pathways called energy meridians. There are also treatment machines in the category in TENS and electronic acupuncture. With respect to the use of machinery based upon TENS strategy, most of these devices utilize electronic stimulation to mask the pain of a user rather than to physically assist the body to recover from a particular injury. Thus, there is a need for devices that actively assist the body in healing from particular types of injuries using electrical energy.
The present invention disclosed and claimed herein, in one aspect thereof, comprises a biofeedback electronic stimulation device. The device has a user interface enabling a user to select at least one input signal. A processor within the device generates a first control signal and a plurality of second control signals responsive to the at least one input signal. Transformer circuitry generates a stimulation signal including packets containing at least one pulse responsive to the first control signal from the processor. Pulse circuitry configures at least one pulse in the packet to a selected one of a plurality of configurations responsive to the plurality of second control signals. The stimulation signal is applied to the body of a user using output electrodes. Detector circuitry detects zero crossings of the at least one pulse in the packet of the stimulation signal, and the processor generates an indicator responsive to the detected zero crossings.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings in which:
Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numbers are used herein to designate like elements throughout the various views, embodiments of the present invention are illustrated and described, and other possible embodiments of the present invention are described. The figures are not necessarily drawn to scale, and in some instances the drawings have been exaggerated and/or simplified in places for illustrative purposes only. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate the many possible applications and variations of the present invention based on the following examples of possible embodiments of the present invention.
Referring now to
A pair of electrodes 112 provide a stimulation signal from the output circuitry 114 and provide a connection point between the biofeedback electronic stimulation device and a body of a user. The output electrodes 112 connect the device to a point on a body of a user. The pair of electrodes 112 additionally provide an input for measuring a body's response to the applied electric signals through the electrodes 112. A connector 116 enables a battery 118 to be interconnected to the biofeedback electronic stimulation device to power the microcontroller 104 and associated circuitry. The power level selector 120 enables a user to adjust the power level applied to a transformer 122 within the output circuitry 114 by the microprocessor 104 to various levels. The applied power level alters the strength of the stimulation signal output from electrodes 112 to a user's body.
Treatment selector switch 124 selects the particular mode of operation for the biofeedback electronic stimulation device. The selected treatment mode from switch 124 provides an indication to the microprocessor 104 of a particular operating mode. The microprocessor 104 configures the pulse generator circuitry 126 to provide a desired pulse output according to the selected mode of operation. A series of display LEDs and/or LCDs 128 provide a visual indication of the power level of the device, the mode of operation or other device status. Additionally, a speaker 130 may be used to provide audible indicators to a user of various operating conditions. Various visual and audible indications are provided by the LEDs and LCDs 128 or the speaker 130. These instructions include a mode indication, a power level indication, a battery power indication, a sensor connection indication, a body response status, a time status, body measurement readings, USB interface status, instructional information, treatment status, or diagnosis information. The transformer circuit 122 is energized by signals from a pulse generator circuit 126.
The output circuitry 114 is connected to and controlled by the microprocessor 104 to generate output pulses in a stimulation signal through the electrodes 112. The output circuitry 114 also receives feedback signals from the electrodes 112 to control the operation of the microprocessor 104. A transformer 122 generates a signal including packets of one or more pulses responsive to removal of an applied current from the transformer 122 controlled by the microprocessor 104. The transformer circuit 122 is energized by signals from a pulse generator circuit 126. The output pulses provided from the transformer may be clamped by damping circuitry 125. The various characteristics of the pulse generated by the pulse generator 126 are controlled responsive to control inputs from the microprocessor 104. A detector circuit 132 is responsible for detecting the zero crossing of the pulse signals provided at the electrodes 112. The time between the zero crossing is used by the microprocessor 104 to determine when the device may be removed from the body. The sensor circuit 134 provides the measurements for the zero crossings.
Referring now to
A resistor 228 is connected between node 226 and node 230. In the preferred embodiment, the resistor 228 has a value of 150 kilo ohms. A capacitor 232 is in parallel with resistor 228 between nodes 226 and 230. In a preferred embodiment, the capacitor 232 has a value of 500 picofarads. This capacitor can eliminate the need for the damping device 246 discussed below by limiting the amplitude of pulses generated by the transformer 206. A resistor 234 is connected between node 230 and ground. Sensor one output 236 is connected to node 226. Sensor two output 238 is connected to node 230. An external sensor 240 is connected between node 226 and node 230. The transformer circuitry 122 is interconnected with the damping circuitry 125 via a capacitor 242. The capacitor 242 is located between the center tap 224 and node 244 of the damping circuitry 125.
The damping circuitry 125 includes a clamping device 246 located between node 244 and node 226. The clamping device 246 prevents the pulses generated when the current is released from the transformer 206 from exceeding a particular amplitude. In a preferred embodiment, the clamping device 246 comprises a bidirectional rectifying diode. The remaining portion of the pulse generator circuitry 126 consists of a transformer shunt enabling the load applied across the transformer 206 to be adjusted by switching resistances into and out of the load applied to the transformer 206. The transformer shunt consists of three relays 250, which switch a resistor load 254 into and out of the circuit. Each relay 250 has four connections. A first connection is connected to a resistor 252 that is also connected to the system voltage. The relays 250 have a second connection to a load resistor 254 connected between the relay and node 226. Another connection of the relay 250 is connected to control inputs 256 from the microprocessor 104. A light emitting diode 258 is connected between the connection to resistor 252 and the input connected to the control input 256. The light emitting diode 258, when lit actuates a pair of photo sensitive transistors 260 connected between third and fourth inputs of the relay 250. When a control signal is applied to input 256 of one of the relays 250, the light emitting diode 258 causes the actuation of the photo sensitive transistor pair 260, which switches the resistor 254 of the transformer shunt across the transformer 206. As can be seen, there are three relays 250 enabling eight different combinations of the resistors 254 to be switched across the transformer 206 responsive to control signals applied to lines 256 a through 256 c. Using these various combinations of relays 250, the microprocessor 104 controls the shape and configuration of the packet of pulses output by the transformer in a number of fashions which will be discussed more fully herein below such that the stimulation signal may be configured in a number of desired modes responsive to user inputs. While only three relays 250 are described with respect to the present embodiment, any number of relays 250 may be used.
Referring now to
Control input 312 receives an input control signal from the detector module 132 as described in
The processor may use the control signals to control a number of processes within the device. The processor may control the amount of damping applied to each pulse. The processor may also control the stimulation pulse applied by the pulse generator to the transformer and the power or pulse width of the stimulation pulse. Control signals may also be generated responsive to the analysis of patterns in a response signal from the body and altered in real time. The altered control signals may generate a pulse that drives the response from the body to a desired outcome. The analysis may also be communicated to the user or a data collection apparatus along with any derived information.
The generation of the control signals by the microprocessor 104 is more fully described with respect to the flow diagram illustrated in
Once inquiry step 508 determines to release the charging signal, the microprocessor 104 modifies the control signals applied to the transformer shunt at step 509 to modify the stimulation signal as desired. In some embodiments, the control signals applied to the transformer shunt may remain constant and the control signals will not be modified at step 509. The microprocessor 104 next monitors the feedback provided from the electrodes 112 that are providing the electronic stimulation signal to the body of a user. The specifics of the feedback detection will be more fully discussed with respect to
Referring now to
Once the time between the zero crossings of pulses is determined at step 602, this time value is stored within a memory associated with the microprocessor 104 at step 604. Inquiry step 606 determines if a count value is equal to a predetermined value that is used for averaging a number of time values. If not, control passes back to step 602. Once the appropriate number of time values have been stored and count is equal to the preselected value at inquiry step 606, the average time between the zero crossings of pulses may be determined at step 608. This value may be compared with a previously determined value at inquiry step 610 to determine if the determined average time value is constant. If the determined average time value is not constant, count is reset to zero at step 612 and control passes back to step 602. If it is determined that the stored time value is constant with a previously stored time value, inquiry step 614 determines if the successive number of average time values have been constant for a selected period Y. If not, count is reset to zero and control returns to step 602. Once the average time values have been constant for a selected period of time as determined at inquiry step 614, an indicator is generated to the user indicating the device may be shut down at step 616. In an alternative embodiment, the indicator could cause the device to automatically shut down rather than waiting for a user provided shut down signal.
Referring now to
The microprocessor 104 may also control the time t2 between adjacent pulses 704 of a packet 702. This would be an alternative way for increasing or decreasing the size of a particular packet 702 by altering the time t2 between pulses 204 rather than changing the number of pulses per packet 710 as described previously. The time t2 may also be varied in any number of desired fashions. The time t2 between pulses may also be controlled using the control signals to the pulse generation circuitry 126. Additionally, the pulses 704 may be damped such that the amplitude 714 may be increased or decreased to change the magnitude of the pulses 704 provided within the electronic stimulation signal 706. The amplitude 714 is also controlled through the damping circuitry 125 and may be done with a combination of the relays 250 in the damping circuitry 125.
Referring now to
In addition to controlling the amplitude of the output by controlling the release point of the charging signal to the transformer, the damping circuit may be used to control the output pulse in the manner illustrated in
Therefore, using the above-described device, a user may strategically apply an electronic stimulation signal to specific parts of their body and by the use of mode selection buttons, may control the configuration of the packets of pulses applied to their body. The pulses may be adjusted in any of the fashions discussed herein above.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art having the benefit of this disclosure that this invention provides an electronic stimulation device for providing healing signals to a person's body. It should be understood that the drawings and detailed description herein are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive manner, and are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms and examples disclosed. On the contrary, the invention includes any further modifications, changes, rearrangements, substitutions, alternatives, design choices, and embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention, as defined by the following claims. Thus, it is intended that the following claims be interpreted to embrace all such further modifications, changes, rearrangements, substitutions, alternatives, design choices, and embodiments.